It seems every artist is doing it now. Alison Wonderland hosted her own warehouse parties last year while Bliss ‘n Eso set up their own two month outdoor festival. In the same vein, everyone’s favourite psych-rock septet, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard jumped on the bandwagon last weekend to launch their own massive festival, subtly dubbed “Gizzfest”, for their new record, Quarters!
To help them with this ambitious task, the band have assembled a mammoth 28 bands to play across multiple dates in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Tickets were dirt cheap at $35 and seeing King Gizzard for an hour was already worth the price of admission. For a festival that goes for seven hours however, now that’s a bargain.
The Corner Hotel in Melbourne was the first point of call in a night that featured 30 minutes sets from this motley crew of weird and wonderful bands.
The Dead Heir opened the night with their addictive brand of psych/garage rock before the curtain closed and it was quickly onto the next act. No muss, no fuss. The name of the next act couldn’t have been more apt. Tiny Giants looked like they could’ve been a high school band but the sound they produced was mighty. The young trio were quite clearly inspired by King Gizz with guitarist, Jasper Jolly, pulling out the harmonica for a few tracks and even having a striking resemblance to bandleader, Stu Mackenzie in both his appearance and playing style.
White Bleaches slowed it down a notch with a trip into the atmospheric, playing Wooden Shjjps-esque, bluesy jams (if you haven’t heard of the latter, do yourself a favour and look them up). gizzard frontman Stu even joined the band on keyboard for one track. He surely is the hardest working bloke in the Aussie rock scene at the moment.
With a few technical glitches, Lalic’s guitarist soldiered on through a fairly messy set of experimental sonic rock. Heading into the other spectrum of rock, Zig Zag played a pleasant set of indie rock tunes to keep the mood nice and mellow before power punk trio, Fucking Teeth, came out and blew our heads off.
Veteran of the game, Dave Graney and his band The Mistly, upped the age and even the weirdness of the night. Dressed in a white suit and hat, neither Graney’s banter, nor his music really connected with the audience. His bassist also wore glasses pulled straight from Cyclops of the X-Men franchise. If that was a weird set, next up were three men in dresses performing with special guest, Davey Lane of You Am I fame. Billed as The Gravy Train Power Trio, they unleashed an energetic bunch of oddities that, in stark contrast to Dave Graney and the Mistly, really hit a chord with the crowd.
As the night pushed past the halfway mark, the tension was palpable. Graney jumped on stage to help out another old-timer in Harry Howard as they bashed out their own version of what sounded uncannily like the B-52s.
With three acts to go, the countdown was on. Orb sent the audience into space with extended desert/stoner rock gems on par with pioneers of the genre, Kyuss. Winner of the weirdest band of the night though, has to go to Mangelwurzel. Jizz references, bizarre dance moves and a bassist straight out of a Star Trek convention, it was difficult to tell if we were on planet Earth at times. Still, lead singer Cosima Jaala was an incredibly entertaining front woman and her quirkiness worked in the band’s favour. Last support act, The Pink Tiles finished off on a strong note, as it was finally time for the band everyone was really here to see.
[include_post id=”445877″]King Gizzard received a rapturous applause as the curtains opened and there was a buzz that resonated throughout the entire venue. That buzz morphed into raw energy as the band whipped through a couple of old favourites to get the crowd going.
Stu pulled out the flute for the more mellow ‘Hot Water’ before bringing back the chaos on the lengthy psych/rock beast that is ‘Am I in Heaven’. He even threw in elements of ‘Head on/Pill’ to the latter as a special treat for loyal fans.
It was mayhem in the moshpit, with crowd surfing like I’ve never experienced. At this point the band decided to slow things down and play their first single from the new record, ‘River’. Another extended jam, the song truly showcases KG’s diversity and growth as a band. A talented group of musicians, it is truly Stu that is their singing, screaming, mic swallowing, guitar shredding leader and he has such a charismatic presence that that you can’t turn away from.
Finishing with the opening rock-suite frenzy of, I’m in Your Mind Fuzz, the night climaxed on an energetic, sweaty high. Further proof that King Gizzard are the hardest working, most prolific band in Australia at the moment, they are also the greatest live act going around, hands down.
You can get King Gizzard’s latest album Quarters via Remote Control Records